Four Fort Polk soldiers were arrested after a suspected gang-related shooting in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, late Monday night, according to local law enforcement.
The DeRidder Police Department and the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office issued a joint statement detailing the alleged Sept. 20 shooting, in which one person was injured while escaping gunfire.
Pfc. Quazier T. Watterson, 19; Pfc. Trevian J. Cherry, 23; Spc. Joshua D. Galloway VI, 24; and Pfc. Tavon M. Williams, 19, were arrested for criminal conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault with a firearm, illegal use of weapons or other dangerous instrumentalities, and aggravated criminal damage to property.
All four soldiers are assigned to 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Polk, according to post spokesperson Shelby Waryas.
Police responded to reports of shots fired in DeRidder at about 11:25 p.m. Monday. By the time officers arrived on the scene, the suspects were no longer there, the sheriff’s office and police said in their statement.
A witness helped authorities identify the suspects’ vehicle, which was later found in nearby Leesville, according to the statement.
Five weapons were found in the vehicle, along with shell casings that matched those at the scene, the statement added.
Police are looking into whether the incident may be gang-related, as another shooting took place at the same location on Sept. 11.
“Detectives believe last night’s shooting is related to the recent activity from the so-called gangs after they arrested two more juveniles in Leesville,” the sheriff’s office and police said.
Details on which gangs may be involved, or what’s fueling the disputes were not shared.
Earlier this year, Army Times obtained an internal Criminal Investigation Command assessment that found gang activity across the Army is on the decline. The assessment warned, however, that the decline could be a factor of the coronavirus pandemic keeping people indoors.
Ninety-three individuals with an Army connection were identified in 2020 as being linked to gang activity through either a law enforcement report or a criminal intelligence report, according to the annual assessment, which was obtained by Army Times through the Freedom of Information Act.
The year before, that number was 245, according to the same annual assessment for 2019, also obtained by a FOIA request.
All four Fort Polk soldiers are being held at the Vernon Parish Jail as they await transport to the Beauregard Parish Jail. No bond has been set.
Law enforcement officials handling the case did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Leila has covered global military and security operations from across the U.S., the Middle East, and Latin America.
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